Nothing in life is free. Yeah, tell that to people who get to enjoy all of the free — yes, free — attractions in Vegas.
Sure, you’re probably plunking your hard-earned dollars into the slots or throwing dolla’ dolla’ bills on the tables, but come on, once you’ve folded, it’s nice to know you can still get something (for nothing) out of Sin City.
1. The Mirage Volcano
Experience the eruption of a volcano — minus the catastrophic damages. Every night in front of The Mirage, you can check out a force of nature, kind of. This man-made volcano erupts nightly, weather permitting, at 8pm and 9pm. Friday and Staurday nights feature a third explosion at 10pm. Think smoke and fire rising 100 feet into the arid Las Vegas air. Set to music. It’s like nature meets Las Vegas.
2. Bellagio Fountains
The famed fountains outside of Bellagio cannot be missed. Just ask the throngs of people who line-up against the fence each day to witness the spectacular water show unfold in the 8-acre lake. These dancing fountains are timed to music ranging from classical to Broadway and more. To check out the free beauty, head to the front of the hotel after 3 p.m. during the week, or noon on weekends. Shows run until midnight and operate every 30 minutes during the day and every 15 minutes at night. Take note — if it is windy, the show won’t go on.
3. The Welcome to Las Vegas Sign
You’ve probably seen the infamous sign in posters, on T-shirts … well, just about everywhere when Vegas is mentioned. This iconic sign can also be in your own photos. Located at both the North and South ends of The Strip (the popular one is just south of Mandalay Bay), the sign is open 24 hours a day. You can glimpse newlyweds smooching, bachelorettes getting that final Facebook photo before heading out to the clubs and even Big Bird. Just say “cheese.”
4. Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Once you’ve enjoyed the free fountains, step inside Bellagio to explore the conservatory and botanical gardens. The whimsical botanical gardens are updated seasonally and have been known to feature everything from a working water mill to cranberry-filled ponds. There are more than 100 horticulturists who maintain the gardens, arranging floral works of art around gazebos and winding pathways.
5. The Wildlife Habitat
Housed at The Flamingo, The Wildlife Habitat is a popular free attraction for families. Inside the habitat, animal-lovers can find a flock of Chilean Flamingos, plus plenty of other feathered friends. The newest addition to the exhibit are brown pelicans rescued from California in 2012. Set next to the Flamingo pool area, it’s a chance to view entirely different animals.
6. Fremont Street Experience
Downtown Las Vegas is not to be skipped for the freebies. Sure, you can get a thrill simply people-watching here, but the Fremont Street Experience is the real attraction for out-of-towners. Simply look up at the canopy packed with millions of LED lights to create different displays set to music. Plus, there are heaps of free concerts to enjoy between the light shows.
7. First Friday
Spread over Downtown, First Friday is the merging of art and culture. And locals. Here, you can stroll through the many galleries packed into the Arts District, sip wine (OK, that’s not free), and check out the local art scene. There’s live music, performances and more. It runs the first Friday of every month (hence the name) and is a perfect way to get a glimpse of real(!), live(!) people living in Vegas.
8. Circus Acts at Circus Circus
If you don’t want to spend time at AdventureDome, the huge indoor amusement park at the children-friendly resort, then head over and visit the circus midway. The kiddies will love the free circus shows they can enjoy, complete with jugglers, acrobats, trapeze artists and other performers. Yes, there are clowns. Bragging rights: it’s the world’s largest permanent circus. The fun starts every day at 11 a.m.
9. CityCenter Fine Art Collection
CityCenter offers free art for your culture fix. Artists like Maya Lin, Henry Moore and others are packed into the property for your viewing pleasure. It may be packed into the high-end shopping area, but the art here is truly stunning and worth turning a blind eye to Prada for.
10. Cosmopolitan Art
Speaking of art, The Cosmopolitan resort is packed with art. From the cool Art-O-Matic machines where you can snatch up original art for a few bucks, to the world’s biggest chandelier to the huge high-heeled shoe you can take a photo with, art abounds thanks to Cosmopolitan’s embracing artists like Yoko Ono and other big names.
Editor’s Bonus Picks
Ka Open House
Enter the spectacle and fantasy world of Cirque du Soliel … without spending a penny. Every Tuesday and Saturday, Ka opens its world to the public. Located inside MGM, guests can get a behind-the-scenes look at the renowned show and what goes into creating the whimsical world of Ka. Opens houses run Tuesday at 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., and Saturdays at noon and 12:30 p.m. To take advantage of this opportunity and experience the world of Cirque, simply check-in at the theater doors.
Jame Turrell’s “Akhob”
Who would have thunk the latest art installation would come courtesy of Louis Vuitton? Well, it has. The French luxury store at City Center is now home to a permanent piece of art, Jame Turrell’s “Akhob,” meaning pure water in Egyptian. Housed on the fourth floor, the installation is the largest of the artist’s light fields and is made up of two chambers with circular openings and a pattern of light in pinks, blues and orange which slowly changes in 24-minute cycles. Take the time and chill out from the sensory overload of The Strip with Turrell’s latest piece. By reservation only (702) 730-3150.
DO you have a favorite free attraction in Las Vegas? Join in the discussion below and let us know about your favorite Vegas freebie!
Vegas will always be synonymous with “bachelor party” (cough, Hangover, cough), but the new five-star Sin City is also packed with spas, shows, and activities for the ultimate girls’ getaway. So don’t sit back and let the boys have all the fun. It’s time to grab to grab your besties and prep for a weekend of the best spa treatments, brunches, and bubbly.
Courtesy of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Planning for the perfect girls getaway begins with finding the right place to lay your heads. My favorite: Cosmopolitan. With roomy suites and sweeping views of the Strip from spacious terraces, plus a floor of stellar restaurants and a lobby that’s always packed, you just might never leave. Or up the ante and go for a Sky Villa, 7,000 square feet of extravagance at Aria. Your whole gang could room together and pre-game while getting ready for your girls’ night out. Quieter groups might prefer the new loft-like suites at Four Seasons, a quiet oasis to come home to, but connected to Mandalay Bay when it’s time to party.
No girls’ trip is complete without a boozy brunch for gossip and hair-of-the-dog relief. A long-time staple for Vegas locals is Border Grill (at Mandalay Bay and Forum Shops), which offers unlimited mimosas and yummy small plates on weekends. Or hit Verandah at Four Seasons Saturday or Sunday for a taste of luxury that’s popular with local socialites. Venetian’s Buddy V’s is the newest brunch hot spot, with an over-the-top Sunday buffet, or dine on French fare seven days a week in the dazzling atrium at Mon Ami Gabi.
3) Photo Ops
Nothing beats a group selfie in front of the famous dancing fountains at Bellagio. Street-side works, or have early-evening cocktails at Hyde inside the hotel. Their patio offers the best shot, with the romantic Paris Hotel in the background. Want the classic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign snap? Ask a cabbie to take you – it’s just a few minutes south of Mandalay Bay.
Photo Courtesy Wynn Resorts
Indulge in five-star pampering at any only-in-Vegas spectacular spa, but especially consider my favorites Canyon Ranch and Wynn Encore. Canyon Ranch, at Venetian/Palazzo, is so expansive, you and your girls could easily spend a whole day getting facials, massages, scrubs and salon services. Planning a bachelorette party? Book the private Bridal Suite, where you can pop some champagne and have quick access to the salon, Aquavana, and amenities. Or head to jaw-dropping Encore, where the entrance alone is truly awe-inspiring. (One word: gold.) After your walk down the grand corridor to the garden villas and opulent clothing-optional pools, you’ll never want to leave.
Every visitor to Vegas with even the smallest interest in shopping heads straight to Fashion Show Mall. After you’ve shopped till you dropped, rest your weary feet at locals hangouts El Secundo or Ra Sushi, overlooking the Strip. Or enter the Rome-themed Forum Shops, where you can taste homemade gelato, have your picture taken at the Fountain of the Gods, and load up on Gucci, all within a few square feet. Need a break from the Strip and maybe some vitamin D? Jump in a cab to Town Square, just a few minutes south of Mandalay Bay for outdoor shopping and dining.
Photo credit: Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower
Into thrills? Then Las Vegas has all the tricks to get your blood pumping. Big Shot, the free-fall ride on top of the Stratosphere, is the crème de la crème. When the elevator doors open to views of the Vegas valley from more than 900 feet – and you haven’t even been catapulted up on the ride yet? You’ll know you’re amazing to earn some major bragging rights the next time your comparing Vegas weekends with the boys. Or maybe you were thinking something just a tad bit mellower. The High Roller, the world’s tallest observation wheel, is located at the LINQ open-air shopping district. The 30-minute ride lets you see the sparkling city from every angle as you watch and walk around in 360-degree view pods. Look into their “happy half-hour” drinking option.
Who commits to entrees anymore? Kidding, but what group of girls doesn’t like bites and tastes of small-plate shares at places like La Cave at Wynn Las Vegas and Cosmopolitan’s Jaleo, which boasts killer Spanish food like mini endive boats and decadent bread with tomato and olive oil puree. Or dig into the best red meat in town at Gordon Ramsay Steak. Steakhouses are king in Vegas because of bachelor parties, but why let the boys have all the fun?
The obvious clichéd option is Chippendales at Rio – because it really is that much fun. A stage full of immaculate men dancing and singing their hearts out, with just the right amount of camp? You know you want to. Or indulge your celeb crush from the 1990s and buy tickets to Boyz II Men, at Mirage. You’ll know every word to every song – and you just might go home with a rose. And I always, always have to mention Absinthe. I call it “old-school Cirque-style with just the right amount of raunch.” You’ve never laughed so hard – and the acts are jaw-dropping.
Photo Credit: MGM Resorts International
It’s time to get those girls’ nights started! I’ve already mentioned Bellagio’s Hyde, but its neighbor Lily is also an excellent option, especially later in the night. Beautiful, couture cocktails with any type of alcohol you’re craving. Or spend some time moving among the floors of Chandelier at Cosmopolitan. With a million Swarovski crystals drooped above your head, drinking champagne has never felt so decadent.
Photo Courtesy of TAO Nightclub
Going all out in Vegas means dancing the night away at one of its famous clubs. Make sure to find a VIP host walking around the casino during the day, as there are many deals available for all-girl groups. My sentimental favorite will always be Tao at Venetian, which is built around one main dance floor, allowing the energy to build in the whole club the later it gets. Or for the biggest DJ names, head to Omnia at Caesars Palace or its sister club Hakkasan at MGM.
Over the years, we have been lucky to dine at Mesa Grill several times. We love the casual yet upscale feel and the focus on southwestern cuisine means that your taste buds are always in for a treat. If you are dining as a couple but don’t want to feel crowded, ask the hostess if they have a four-top available. This is a request they can usually accommodate during lunch service and you’ll appreciate the extra space. Dining at Mesa Grill doesn’t have to be a budget buster; some of the lunch items like the burgers cost under $20, which isn’t bad for a celebrity-branded restaurant in the heart of the Strip. Here’s a run down of some of our favorite lunch options.
The Bread Basket
This is not your typical breadbasket, folks, and just so you know, our photograph doesn’t do this justice. Filled with cinnamon-raisin scones, blue and yellow cornbread muffins, blueberry coffee cake, and mini jalapeno cheese biscuits, the bread basket at Mesa Grill is full of tasty delights. You’ll want to eat it all, but hold back because you need to save room for….
Burger lovers, you are in for a treat! If you are in the mood for a good old-fashioned burger (juicy beef with melted cheddar and sauteed onions), then it doesn’t get much better than the Mesa Burger. Our favorite, though, is the Green Chile Cheeseburger. It is no secret that Bobby loves his chilies and this burger, which is smothered in creamy queso sauce, features a roasted trio of poblano, Hatch, and serrano chilies. Both burgers are served with a side of southwestern fries. They are super crispy, yet full of potatoey goodness while seasoned with a subtle, smoky kick. Dee-licious!
Want to keep things light? Mesa Grill has two delicious appetizer salads to choose from. Sophie’s chopped salad is a popular choice, but our favorite is The Baby Romaine Salad. The combination of chorizo, roasted garlic dressing and cotija cheese packs a powerful flavor punch while the warm hominy croutons provide the crunch. We could eat this. All. Day. Long.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
Somehow, you need to save room for dessert. More specifically, save room for the Sticky Toffee Pudding! This warm chocolate cake has an ooey-gooey center, caramel on the top and bottom, and chocolatey rice crispy treats sitting on top. It’s served with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream that slowly melts on the plate and perfectly compliments the cake. Yum Yum!
Mesa Grill: Caesars Palace, 3570 S Las Vegas Blvd., (702) 731-7731 mesagrill.com
You might think that a town known for bachelor parties and “guy trips” would have a bar or lounge dedicated to enjoying a cigar at every turn. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, it’s not easy to find a cigar bar or lounge in Las Vegas where you can light up and grab a drink with your friends or like minded people.
Here are some of the best places on the Vegas Strip and Downtown Las Vegas where you can grab a cigar and relax without fearing that you might bother or offend anyone with your smoke.
Montecristo (Caesars Palace)
This is newest cigar lounge and bar in Las Vegas and it’s located right in the center of the Vegas Strip. It’s always easy to say that the newest of anything is the best but Montecristo legitimately might be the best cigar bar and lounge on the Vegas Strip. The 100 seat bar and lounge has four distinct areas – The Signature Bar, The Library, The Courtyard and The Vault Room – in just 4,000 square feet of space. The state-of-the-art ventilation system keeps air circulating in the relatively large cigar lounge. This comes in handy when you’re lined up at the bar playing video poker. Montecristo has the high-end feeling that you’re looking for in that once a year or once in a lifetime experience.
This cigar bar is different from any other Davidoff location that you’ll find in Las Vegas. The cigar bar has a large humidifier with an equally large selection of cigars. The bar offers the high-end spirits and signature cocktails that you can pair nicely with a cigar. This bar is unique in that you can smoke outside on the patio just above the Vegas Strip or inside at the bar, in lounge chairs or in your own VIP nook. The Davidoff Cigar Bar is a great location for beginners as the friendly and knowledgeable staff will help guide you through the large selection of cigars.
There was a time in Las Vegas when it felt as though Casa Fuente was the only game in town if you wanted an experience dedicated to smoking a cigar. There are more places to grab a smoke than ever but Casa Fuente in the Caesars Palace Forum Shops remains one of the best. Sure the humidor has a great selection of cigars and the staff is great but the drinks are what really make every visit special. Everything from the espresso to mojitos and sangria makes this a cigar bar fit for any mood.
Andre’s may be known by most who visit Las Vegas as a fine dining French restaurant but that’s just the tip of the iceberg here. Drinkers and smokers know Andre’s for the cigar lounge with a large whiskey and wine menu. The lounge would best be described as cozy and it’s probably best enjoyed by a group of 2-4 people. The selection of cigars is smaller than the competition but just enough options for all price ranges. Andre’s has a great location at Monte Carlo just off The Park and offers excellent Happy Hour and Whiskey specials.
Unlike the other cigar bars, the Cigar Lounge at Binion’s doesn’t sell cigars it’s just a nice relaxed environment to hang out and smoke with your friends. You can purchase cigars from Vato Cigars inside of Binion’s. This kind of cigar lounge would be a perfect addition to any casino floor. It’s a nice environment to smoke without being concerned about others who may not want your smoke. The mellow environment has big comfy chairs and a few tvs. Like most businesses in downtown Las Vegas, you’ll find that the prices for cigars at Vato’s and drinks in the casino are very affordable.
You can now enjoy Cracker Barrel’s made-from-scratch biscuits in Las Vegas! The famous old country store just opened its first Nevada location, outside the Silverton Hotel. Serving breakfast (all day), lunch, and dinner the restaurant is open 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6 a.m. – 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
There has been a lot of buzz in the buildup to the store’s opening, resulting in a very busy opening week. We checked in around noon on a Thursday and the wait for a table was well over one hour. While waiting for a table, guests can peruse the gift shop or relax on the outdoor patio in a rocking chair, although the proximity to Interstate 15 and soaring triple digit temperatures may not make this the most comfortable setting at times. Still, it’s great to finally see Cracker Barrel reach Las Vegas. With over 600 locations open nationwide, our only question is what took them so long?
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store: 8350 Dean Martin Drive Las Vegas, NV. (888) 123-4567 crackerbarrel.com
The Linq Hotel is built using the bones of Imperial Palace and O’Sheas. Once know as The Quad, The Linq Hotel name matches the name of the shopping and dining promenade outside that’s simply known as The Linq. The promenade is also the gateway to the High Roller observation wheel you can see from just about anywhere in Las Vegas.
The Linq Hotel positions itself as a high-tech property for a younger connected traveler. Today’s younger travelers aren’t as concerned with the size of their hotel room as they are how connected the room is and how close they are to great experiences. Well, The Linq Hotel checks off both marks.
The small basic rooms were appropriate for the time when the Imperial Palace opened in 1959. Those small rooms start at just under 300 square feet. Each room has been renovated and moderately stylized for today’s connected visitor who needs ample charging outlets, high-speed wifi and an affordable place to rest their head.
The Deluxe Double Room is approximately 300 square feet. I received an upgrade to a High Roller view. This room was a corner and a little larger than some of the other rooms. However, the extra space was left empty and fairly useless besides room for luggage and stretching out.
The pillow top beds were comfortable and unlike some Caesars hotels. The pillows were almost equally dense which, again, you don’t find in all Caesars hotels. Some other hotels (Paris, Rio) have an uncomfortable array of pillows that can make for a rough night.
The small end table in between the two beds had a phone and lamp with two outlets. There wasn’t room for much more than two devices and eyeglasses at the end of the night.
Word of caution if you decide to get a High Roller view room. The sun rises in the east and directly into your room if you have a head on view of the High Roller. The room heats up very quickly in the morning during the summer when sunrise is around 6 a.m. The change in temperature is enough that a light sleeper you may want a different view.
Since the rooms are so small, The Linq has eschewed basic dressers and armoires for an intelligently designed closet. This large closet isn’t only a place to hang clothes. It’s also home to 2 dresser drawers, a mini refrigerator, a safe and a couple of shelves. The actual closet section is a little wider than a luggage rack. If you’re traveling with long dresses or suit jackets this space might be a little tight.
As you can see in the photo above, The Linq Hotel provides a couple bottles of water each day. This isn’t very costly for the hotel and it’s a nice touch for a budget hotel.
TV and Workspace
Each room comes with a 47” LED television which hangs on the wall. Well, it has to hang on the wall because there isn’t a desk or table in the room for the TV to sit on. The TV and lack of dresser or table is a great example of how The Linq Hotel maximizes space in the room.
There’s a small bump-out to use as a workspace near the first bed when you enter the room. The rooms don’t have a full-sized desk, dresser or table. Frankly, the small rail is sufficient for keys, wallet, mobile phones and most things you place on a table at the end of the night. The small workspace has ample room and outlets to charge multiple devices or to work if you need.
The intelligent closet design and the workspace + rail offer the illusion of space so that the rooms don’t feel small. Even though a younger traveler may not need a large room, they don’t necessarily want to feel confined when they’re in a room. Additionally, the typical Caesars Entertainment customer is an older customer who might be used to rooms with more space. The design plays nicely for both demographics.
Much like the rest of the room at The Linq, the bathroom isn’t large but it’s well designed. The first thing you’ll notice is the lack of a swinging door. The sliding barnyard style door isn’t ideal for privacy but it does the trick. If you don’t want people to hear what’s happening in the bathroom, I suggest using the wifi to stream music or make sure the TV is on in the main room.
When you’re inside the bathroom you’ll notice that the hotel doesn’t provide moisturizer. This is a must with the dry air in Las Vegas. Housekeeping will bring some if you request it. The thing you won’t notice in the photo is that the toilet is about an inch or two higher than normal. You don’t find higher toilets in many Las Vegas hotels outside of The Venetian and The Palazzo. Tall people might love this but shorties might need the travel version of the squatty potty.
The other thing you’ll notice in the bathroom is that there isn’t a bathtub. There’s an extremely large shower with a high rainshower shower head. The space in the shower is fantastic but the showerhead isn’t very powerful. The large space makes it comfortable to take a longer shower that you’ll very likely need to clean yourself.
One of the most strange amenities to remove are the shower toiletries. I love to take home the small bottles and think about my last time visiting Las Vegas. Well, you can’t do that at The Linq. Shampoo, conditioner and body wash are all provided by a dispenser. It’s awkward at first because it’s different but it’s really not all that inconvenient.
The base rooms at The Linq are small but comfortable and functional. If you’re looking for a lush, luxurious hotel room this may not be for you. However, if you’re looking for a budget hotel room with a great location (center strip across from Caesars Palace) this is a perfect hotel to consider. Rates start at well below $100 per night plus resort fee.
If you think the Strip has the market cornered for vegetarian and vegan dining, think again! Restaurants across the Valley have embraced the veggie movement, from Downtown to the ‘burbs. After all, locals don’t always want to haul it to The Strip, and visitors can get a break from the crowds and experience a more “authentic” Vegas experience.
Downtown Las Vegas
Downtown darling VegeNation has become the spot in Downtown Las Vegas for vegan dining … for both plant-based people and omnivores. And, with good reason. Helmed by Chef Donald Lemperle, the restaurant creates flavorful street food from around the world. Start your meal with a Bao Wow (Asian BBQ tofu in a bao bun), then check out the portobello sliders (Downtown Tony) and finish it up with a gooey, cruelty-free brownie sundae. Serving locally-sourced fruits and veggies, VegeNation offers daily POPUP menus, a killer two-for-one happy hour of locally-owned booze options, a sweet weekend brunch complete with “chicken” and waffles (the best version you will find in town) and more. If you’re around the last Monday of every month from 6 – 8 p.m., head to VegeNation for their Vegans, Baby meetup that includes a complimentary cocktail, special POPUP menu, live DJ and — of course — cool vegans to hang with.
Raw Angel Hair Zucchini Pasta with Sundried Tomaotes and Crimini Mushrooms. Photo Courtesy of Simply Pure
Simply Pure by Chef Stacy Dougan, is located in the hip Container Park. Dougan, a former chef with Wynn, has created a popular gourmet vegan/vegetarian café. With offerings like a vegan salad bar to vegan nachos and everything in between, it is the ultimate dining option for vegans or vegetarians who don’t just want to eat a boring dish. She even offers raw takes on her dishes. Dougan’s take on chicken salad, beef and more has earned rave reviews and is worth a stop in. Or multiple stops in.
707 Fremont St., Suite 2310, Las Vegas 89101, (702) 810-5641
Vegan Falafel. Photo Courtesy of MTO Cafe
While this popular dining spot isn’t strictly veggie or vegan MTO Cafe keeps these guests in mind with its vegan-friendly menu. Although bacon-covered sandwiches come to the table, people can also order such treats as vegan carrot coconut pancakes, vegan falafel, organic and healthy salads like the Celery Sucker (collard greens, quinoa, tzatiki, baba ganoush, tomatoes and cucumbers) and omelets. With two locations – Downtown and Summerlin – this locally owned shop is a popular breakfast and lunch spot.
Downtown – 500 S. Main Street, Las Vegas 89101 (702) 380-8229 Summerlin – 10970 Rosemary Park Drive, Suite 100, Las Vegas 89135 (702) 982-0770 mtocafe.com
Located in the heart of the action in Downtown Vegas, Le Thai offers its vegetarian twist on traditional Thai dishes. Think red curry with tofu. Yellow curry with tofu. Tom yum soup with tofu. Granted, it isn’t especially creative, but the Thai food here is super flavorful in a cozy setting. Check it out at lunch and order the $9.95 special.
Located in Chinatown, just a few minutes from The Strip, Veggie House offers plenty of veggie and vegan options. This spot is total veg/vegan, but even for you meat-eaters out there, give it a go! We promise, you don’t have to keep the course, but these dishes are worth a quick meal convert. Try the Crispy Eggplant or Bamboo Flower with Tofu dishes for some tasty dining options.
5155 Spring Mountain Rd., Las Vegas, 89146 (702) 431.5802 yelp.com
One of the few totally vegan/vegetarian spots in the Valley, this Chinatown restaurant has become known for its healthy dining and teas. Veggie Delight serves fresh smoothies, juices, and Chinese and Vietnamese meals packed with tofu and “meat.” Have a craving for fried yummy? Try the crispy “chicken” or deep fried tofu, then wash it down with a fresh fruit juice or smoothie.
If vegans could have a dessert paradise, this would be it. Vegan donuts win here and no stop in Vegas is complete without grabbing a fresh sweet like this. Picked as one of the top vegan donut spots in the USA by PETA, this shop serves a whopping selection of vegan morsels like cinnamon rolls, bear claws and soy custard donuts.
4600 Spring Mountain Road, Las Vegas, 89102 (702) 873-1032 yelp.com
Go Raw Café
Burger and Salad. Photo Courtesy of Go Raw Cafe
This little spot has two locations in the Valley. Part restaurant(ish), part shop, this raw café offers a multitude of healthy options for vegetarians and vegans. With toasts, salads, wraps and entrees (like the “cheese” “burger”), Go Raw is the ideal spot for people to get their fix of healthy and mindful food. Plus, people can purchase many of these items to enjoy at home, too.
The Lakes – 2910 Lake East Drive, Las Vegas, 89117 (702) 254-5382
Green Valley – 2381 E. Windmill Lane, Las Vegas, 89123 (702) 450-9007 gorawcafe.com
LYFE Kitchen’s menu is a lot of plant and whole-grain dishes designed to deliver protein without the meat, and give you the ultimate taste for under 600 calories a pop. This popular spot, with locations popping up all over the US, serves such goodies as morning tofu wraps, Gardein sausages, unfried buffalo chicken strips and more. Plus, they’ve got a wine and beer list to wash it all down.
140 S. Green Valley Parkway, #142, Henderson, 89102, (702) 558-0131 lyfekitchen.com
This neighborhood haunt caters to everyone in the neighborhood. Besides it’s organic, fair trade coffee, it also offers a bounty of veggie and vegan options. For a hearty breakfast, try Sunrise Coffee’s Nomnom burrito packed with vegetarian beans, eggs, cheese and more. For lunch, order the three-bean chili or the tofurky sandwich. What’s better – many of the vegetarian options can be made vegan, too.
Bite Vegan Bakery
Vegans can enjoy all the bready breakfast yummy! Bite Vegan Bakery offers more than two dozen waffle varities, like cookie and cream, pina colada, peanut butter and more. They’ve even got vegan marshmallows and vegan ice cream with coconut or almond bases. Find all the breakfast deliciousness every Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Fresh52 in Tivoli Village, 440 S. Rampart Blvd., Las Vegas, 89145 ivebeenbitten.com
Want more? For more vegan or vegetarian dining options in town, check out Diana’s new web site Vegans, Baby. If you’d like to recommend your favorite Vegan dining spot, let us know by leaving a comment.
Sure, the glittery lights and sex appeal are enough to lure visitors to Las Vegas. And, sure, there are plenty of things to do in Vegas (like, you know, gambling, partying and dining on some of the best food in the world), but beyond the neon lights there is another world. A world that can put visitors in touch with bright blue skies, sprawling desert landscapes and give them a glimpse at life in southern Nevada.
So, on your next visit to Sin City, plan on a little “escape,” too.
Made famous for Boulder/Hoover Dam, this quaint little town is a quick 30-minute drive from the Strip. Here, you can relax at adorable little sidewalk cafes (one of our favorites is Milo’s Cellar with a sweet smattering of (you guessed it — wine) and pull up a chair to listen to locals having a bluegrass jam. There is also Boulder Dam Brewing Company with seasonal selections of tasty beers, parks, antique shopping and gorgeous views of Lake Mead. Which leads us to …
While you can’t miss the tell-tale bleached rocks that weave a story of a time when the water table was higher and marinas didn’t have to relocate due to shallow areas, Lake Mead’s got plenty to do. From renting a boat and cruising around the various little nooks and crannies of the man-made lake to hiking around and getting a taste of nature, Lake Mead is the anti-Vegas in every sense. Except that, like Vegas, it’s made by humans.
Opened in 1936, Hoover Dam (also known as Boulder Dam) tells the story of early Vegas. Visitors can cross the new massive bridge into Arizona (and be in a different time zone), plus explore the inner-workings of this huge complex. A word of warning: for those who get weak in the knees from heights, don’t cross the bridge, and definitely, whatever you do, don’t look down.
Located about an hour outside of town, this little nugget of a city takes you a step back in time. It’s got kitsch, memorabilia and a plane that has been strategically planted into the side of a small desert mountain. At sunset, it’s a photog’s dream with the textures, the skyline and, of course, the trinkets that make up this tiny, tiny town.
The highest peak in Southern Nevada, Mt. Charleston looms just outside of the city. It’s got towering pine trees, a snow-capped peak (depending on the time of year), hiking, camping, lodges to sip hot beverages, a ski and snowboard resort and more.
Ok, so there isn’t too much here except for a few casinos nestled on the state line of Nevada and California. But, if you like shopping, this is the place to score designer duds at the outlets for a discounted price. Oh, and there is a roller coaster.
Red Rock Canyon
You can see the spattering of rust-colored rock from the west-facing hotel rooms on The Strip … which should be enough to entice you to go and explore. Red Rock Canyon, known for its hikes and climbs, is one of the town’s nature gems. Rent a car and explore the loop road and then head out on an adventure that can cater to all ages, from simple walks through towering rocks to scrambles and serious hikes to treat those to a spectacular view of the Valley as a reward.
Valley of Fire
About an hour outside of Vegas, the Valley of Fire is an oft-forgotten stomping ground for outdoor enthusiasts. The state park – the oldest in Nevada – serves up a nice plate of history and features areas of petrified wood and 3,000 year-old Indian petroglyphs. Bonus points: take the route that winds you through mountains around Lake Mead for some extra nature.
The drive alone is gorgeous, but Death Valley is so much more. It’s the lowest point in the US and has got some seriously fab places to explore. It’s the longest drive on the list, but a day trip here will give you a chance to see glowing white salt flats, mountains that look like they are painted and some good ol’ home-cooking to whisk you into another world.
Known as one of the most haunted areas in the region, this ghost town offers family-friendly fun for all ages. There’s a shoot out, a recreated mining town and a petting zoo. Plus, the restaurant offers romantic fire-side dining.
St. George, Utah
Further away than most other Vegas day trips, St. George, Utah has the gorgeous landscapes and nature absent in Vegas. From the drive up, which includes a (brief) windy road through Arizona, there is plenty to see. Once in St. George, get off and explore the areas nearby. There are ancient Indian grounds here, artist enclaves and more.
Grand Canyon West Rim
Whatever you do, don’t speed to this spot. Arizona police love to pull over visitors as you bump along the road leading up to the Canyon. But, once you’re there, enjoy! The glass sky walk treats visitors to some killer views of the canyon below. It’s pricey, but worth it if you don’t want to shell out the Vegas bucks to take a flight to the North or South Rim but still want to say you’ve been to the Grand Canyon.
How can you resist the lure of aliens at Area 51? This military airfield is home to … well … we don’t really know. Rumor has it, the landing field conducts the development and testing of aircrafts and weapons (read: UFOs). Be brave and spend the night in a tent and then drive back to Vegas to impress friends with stories of alien sightings and conspiracy theories.
It’s a great time to be a beer drinker in Las Vegas. Earlier this year Budweiser Beer Park opened at Paris Las Vegas and more recently Beerhaus opened at The Park, next door to New York-New York. Both venues offer a good place to drink beer on the Vegas Strip, but which do we like best? Let’s take a look at both and see if we can come to a conclusion.
The beer selection at Beerhaus is good but it’s not the best on the Vegas Strip. In fact, you’ll find a better selection at The Pub inside Monte Carlo, which is just a few steps away. You’ll find some independently distributed beers, macro craft beers and a few import beers. The options aren’t bad for a bar on the Vegas Strip, in fact, the beer menu may actually be the perfect mix of names people recognize and beer that will satisfy people looking for something different.
Beer Park is presented by Budweiser, but that doesn’t mean that every beer is a Bud. Budweiser owns and distributes a slew of brands including Goose Island, Kona and Alaska Brewing and the menu at Beer Park lists a nice variety of beers. While the beer connoisseur might not be happy with the selection, most beer drinkers visiting Las Vegas will be more than satisfied.
The menu at Beerhaus isn’t large, but the quality of the food more than makes up for that. Beerhaus uses hormone-free meat and locally sourced produce which is a bit higher quality than you might expect from a simple beer hall. The pulled beef brisket sandwich with atomic horseradish slaw packs a punch that finishes nicely with a cold beer.
Beer Park is a bar and grill and they deliver on what you’d expect to see on the menu. Featured products include burgers, hot dogs, fried foods and dishes that feature Budweiser products in their preparation. Some of the food options almost seem too grandiose for a patio deck bar. Most people will probably stick to the basics and not the oven roasted salmon with a Goose Island beer glaze.
Both Beerhaus and Beer Park offer games but there are more options available at Beerhaus. When you walk into the restaurant you’ll see a cart with tabletop games like generic connect four and regular sized Jenga that you can bring to your table. There are more traditional bar games like foosball, shuffleboard and cornhole offered inside and outside the restaurant. The tabletop games may not seem like a big deal but they’re a nice option if you just want to have something else to do at your table while waiting for your food and drinks.
Beer Park offers a similar variety of games. They’re a nice addition to the bar deck if you’re looking for something else to do while drinking. The games at Budweiser Beer Park are spread out on the deck, although several of the larger games are confined to an unshaded corner toward the far (north) side of the deck. People playing the games didn’t mind the exposure to the sun on a normal spring afternoon but that may be different in the summer when it’s 110 degrees in the shade. This uncovered area is in direct view of the sun when it sets behind Bellagio.
Every day, from 2pm-6pm, Beerhaus has a Happy Hour where you’ll find beer and some snacks for just $4 each. Snacks are $4 again after 10pm but you’ll have to pay full price for your beer. Beerhaus hosts live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday and there were weekly Tap Takeovers by different breweries in April so keep an eye on their events page to see if they have any coming when you plan on visiting.
The standout feature at Budweiser Beer Park is the sweet view of the Vegas Strip. This is an awesome place to sit when the weather is nice.
Beer Park Las Vegas View - YouTube
Prices are on the higher side of what you might expect to pay for such mainstream beer products. Think of the higher price point as an extra fee for that view. In addition to the higher prices, there is also a 4.7% fee tacked on for a “Concession and Franchise Fee.” You can read more about the fees here.
So, which new beer bar on the Vegas Strip is better?
While the Budweiser Beer Park has an unmatched view for beer drinkers on the Vegas Strip, Beerhaus is victorious here. Beerhaus has better beer options, higher quality of food, the ability to sit indoors and better prices. In addition to the slightly lower prices there are excellent Happy Hour deals and no 4.7% fee tacked on to each bill.